Friend, neighbor and Top Shelf Flea Market lieutenant James of 10Engines and I have a very nerdy, high school debate team style parlay over the appropriatenes of Western clothing on men other than ranch hands and rodeo riders in Blogger Showdown at Esquire.com.
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Love some ZZ Top. A surprisingly underrated band.
I read the exchange and pretty much agree with you.
I'm from a family that settled in Oklahoma before it was a state (1907). Before that my people were from Kentucky (led by Daniel Boone after the Revolutionary War) and before that Virginia (1630).
I think that "real" cowboys can obviously pull off the look but even in OK where my family owned a small ranch, I would not have tried to wear cowboy shirts unless it was to a party or dance. (I'm a woman, btw.) I do think that there is a "preppy" style that does co-exist in OK and TX (probably brought by the oil industry from back east).
One often finds a traditionally dressed-shetland sweatered even-farm-boy/girl, with or without boots, but one rarely finds one done up in the whole cowboy look - that is for the "help". (I don't mean that in a arrogant way, the fact is that real cowboys were traditionally hired hands.)
P.S. Real cowboys are at their best in clean duds and boots on the dance floor of a great western ballroom:
Good discussion. I've got a few cowboy shirts, but I'm a farmer's son from the deserty half of Washington so it makes sense. Of course, to the real farmers and rodeo people in my family I'm the city slicker, so I don't go too far. No pointy boots, big belt buckles or cowboy hats.
Who in his right mind would want to look like a cowboy?
A cowboy, perhaps?
I had a class once with a young woman who competed in barrel racing. She told us you could only wear a big western belt buckle if you had actually won it.
I agree with you, but your friend makes a good point about the utility of snaps. Why can't we have more shirts with snaps that aren't Western shirts?
Strictly for weekend wear, of course...
I had no idea ZZ Top even existed in 1974; that would explain why they had the really long beards when I first became aware of them in about 1982.
Still prefer Little Feat though; time does love a hero.
Location, occasion, time: these are the bedrocks of dressing well (did you notice that season didn't even make it into the top three?).
If you are in a location where Western wear is appropriate, and if the occasion calls for it, then anytime is Western time.
On the other hand, if you can't wear it without looking like you're wearing a costume, you should probably avoid it.
My "Western" wear is simply outdoor wear: boots, jeans, flannel shirt, Pendleton shirt jacket, hat as appropriate. Strictly for work or fun in the great out-of-doors.
And I'm from Oregon. (Urban Oregon, admittedly.)
Watch Friday Night Lights to see how good a modern take on western wear looks on some of the kids.
Actually,just watch Friday Night Lights.
Thrifted a few western shirts a while back, one Sears, one Wrangler. Love wearing them to do yard work. Love the snap buttons on the front pockets to keep things from falling out while hunched over pulling weeds. Fall is in full effect in south east MI. While racking leaves yesterday I had on a Sears western shirt, canvas Carhartt pants, LL Bean rubber mocs and a Kershaw in my pocket.
Dig this old ZZ Top ad. Truth in advertising.
Congratulations on reaching Esquire. Hemingway was published there, too. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
For what it's worth, I figure a fellow can get away with western wear (or anything else) so long as doesn't look like a costume.
In other words, 'you win'.
By 1974 they were stars.
Here they are in 1970.
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